Lunar New Year Giveaway: Signed copy of “If I Stay” by Gayle Forman

20140227: Congratulations to Christine (@kitinmeowmeow)! Please wait for my message via Twitter so that we can arrange shipment of your book. 🙂

20140215: This giveaway is CLOSED.

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HAPPY LUNAR NEW YEAR!

I’m hoping this year will be better for me, so to maybe get some more positive energy, I’m going to hold another giveaway!

If you missed Gayle Forman’s book signing here in the Philippines, here’s your chance to win a signed trade paperback copy of “If I Stay”, Ms. Forman’s bestselling novel, and soon to be movie!

If I Stay giveaway

MECHANICS: To join, just go to the Rafflecopter page for this giveaway and follow the instructions there.
⇨⇨⇨ Portkey to Rafflecopter! (Whoosh!)

REMINDER: When you comment here, please don’t forget to answer the contest question (What is your Chinese Zodiac sign?), otherwise, your points for this entry will be invalid.

The contest is open only to residents of the Philippines. If you are not a resident, please read the Terms and Conditions at the Rafflecopter widget carefully because there might still be a way for you to qualify. Contest ends 15 February 2014.

Spread the word, and May the Odds Be Ever In Your Favor!

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Disclaimer (to satisfy the WordPress.com Terms of Service): This giveaway is not being posted in lieu of paid advertising on this blog. I bought the book myself and had it signed during Gayle Forman’s book signing here in the Philippines on January 2014. ☺

“Where She Went (If I Stay #2)” by Gayle Forman

wswWHERE SHE WENT (IF I STAY #2)
Author: Gayle Forman
Read Date: 6 January 2014
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

It’s been three years since the devastating accident–three years since Mia walked out of Adam’s life forever.

Now living on opposite coasts, Mia is Julliard’s rising star and Adam is LA tabloid fodder, thanks to his new rock star status and celebrity girlfriend. When Adam gets stuck in New York by himself, chance brings the couple together again, for one last night. As they explore the city that has become Mia’s home, Adam and Mia revisit the past and open their hearts to the future—and each other.

Told from Adam’s point of view in the spare, lyrical prose that defined If I Stay, Where She Went explores the devastation of grief, the promise of new hope, and the flame of rekindled romance.

So I gave this one a 5 out of 5 stars, and I will be honest–I think at least one star out of that 5 had to do with me being happy about this installment after the depressing, gut-wrenching, sucker-punching, heart-piercing cry-fest that was “If I Stay”, and I mean all of that in a very flattering way.

I’ll be your mess, you be mine
That was the deal that we had signed
--“Messy”: Collateral Damage, Track 2

This is one of those “another point-of-view” stories–we get to read Adam’s this time–but Forman took a different approach compared to what other YA/NA authors did (e.g. Tahereh Mafi, Keira Cass, even Stephenie Meyer). Instead of an alternate POV of the same scene or event, Forman opted to continue the story but to tell it from Adam’s perspective. “Where She Went” continues Mia’s and Adam’s stories three years after the end of “If I Stay”. I liked this approach because it felt like I was reading both a new story and a sequel at the same time, and Forman was able to write it in such a way that it didn’t feel disjointed from “If I Stay”.

Despite his angst and rock-star emo-ness, I found Adam easier to read than Mia, but maybe this is partly because Adam did not have the spectre of death looming over him. And also, by the time Mia and Adam finally meet again, I was almost completely on Adam’s side and was ready to declare Mia persona non grata…well, at least until she had the chance to explain herself.

You crossed the water, left me ashore
It killed me enough, but you wanted more
You blew up the bridge, a mad terrorist
Waved from your side, threw me a kiss
I started to follow but realized too late
There was nothing but air underneath my feet
--“Bridge”: Collateral Damage, Track 4

One of the strengths of both “Where She Went” and “If I Stay” is the measured pace of the characters’ development through a very effective use of flashbacks, musical references, familiar emotional beats, and in the case of “Where She Went”, the song lyrics that Adam wrote for Shooting Star’s hit album. As I read through the books, I felt like the characters were…tangible–I felt like I knew them so well and could relate to them a lot even if I’m not even close to being as talented as Mia nor as famous as Adam.

Someone wake me when it’s over
When the evening silence softens golden
Just lay me on a bed of clover
Oh, I need help with this burden
--“Hush”: Collateral Damage, Track 13

Speaking of the lyrics, during Forman’s signing here in the Philippines, I asked her if she ever thought of completing the lyrics of the songs in “Collateral Damage:, and if she ever thought of having someone produce the album. She said that the lyrics were some of the hardest parts of the book to write, so she doesn’t plan on writing the full songs.

She also revealed that in the movie adaptation of “If I Stay”, the producers recruited actual musicians to act as Shooting Star, and that the members actually bonded and tended to practice playing music together. The music supervisors also produced actual songs for the band, and some will even be included in the movie’s soundtrack.

First you inspect me
Then you dissect me
Then you reject me
I wait for the day
That you’ll resurrect me
--“Animate”: Collateral Damage, Track 1

If these 2 books were a kind of music, then, appropriately enough, “If I Stay” would be a mournful solo cello piece, and “Where She Went” would definitely be a rock anthem that will bring the crowd to its feet.

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Related Reviews:

“If I Stay (If I Stay #1)” by Gayle Forman

If I StayIF I STAY (IF I STAY #1)
Author:
Gayle Forman
Read Date: 5 January 2014
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Mia had everything: a loving family, a gorgeous, admiring boyfriend, and a bright future full of music and full of choices. In an instant, almost all of that is taken from her. Caught between life and death, between a happy past and an unknowable future, Mia spends one critical day contemplating the only decision she has left. It is the most important decision she’ll ever make.

Simultaneously tragic and hopeful, this is a romantic, riveting, and ultimately uplifting story about memory, music, living, dying, loving.

Disclosure: “If I Stay” has been recommended to me so many times already, but I only read it now because National Book Store announced that Gayle Forman is coming to the Philippines on January 18. Back when I got my first recommendation and I read the synopsis, I felt like it might hit a little too close to home, so I didn’t read it.

Well, it did hit very close to home in more ways than one, and while it was a very good story and I loved it, this will go on my “do not re-read if you value your sanity” list. But it’s not you, Gayle Forman; it’s me.

I loved how Forman wrote Mia and everyone around her; they come across as real people, as if they could have been my next-door neighbors. (Although, sadly, my real neighbors aren’t as cool.)

I also loved how she fleshed out Mia’s life and relationships in between her critical moments after the accident. This highlighted the stark contrast between Mia’s almost fairy tale life pre-accident and her current condition. I was rooting for Mia to pull through, of course, but the contrast was so great that Mia’s internal conflict was very much justified, and readers can sympathize with her even if we are very much alive. And her conflict is also important when we get to reading “Where She Went”.

This book really put me on an emotional roller-coaster as very few books have before. I honestly think that may even be the reason why I can’t give this a straight up 5 stars, even though, again, it’s no fault of Forman’s.

Those roller-coaster moments are too personal for the internet, but I can say I hit rock bottom in this book when I got to the part where Mia’s grandfather whispered to her that it’s okay if she wanted to go. I had to say that to someone once in my life in the same situation, and I don’t think I can do it again.

I immediately read “Where She Went” after this, and I think I loved that book more because Adam’s angst and his battle with life was such a welcome read after Mia’s (and all the other characters’, come to think of it) battle with death.

I recommend “If I Stay” to…well, to just about anyone. Except those who are very depressed; stay away. 😛

Now I’m gonna go watch “WINNER TV”. Nothing like a bunch of cute and dorky boys singing and doing dorky things to make me forget about this post.